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Friday, November 19, 2010

List 6. Aldous Huxley and society (Youtube.com)


List 6. Aldous Huxley and society (Youtube.com)                          3-4-5  level                25-30 min
GOAL.  To do an intensive listening about a topic/author using the engine search.
Youtube was surprisingly chosen ‘Person of the year’ in 2006 by TIME magazine, that is ‘YOU’. Nowadays English learners can make headways with this new tool to improve listening skills learning about the world. As you listen to real language with everyday English you are facing a great challenge.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a controversial British intellectual whose self-quest to uncover the reality beyond freedom made him one of the icons for the counter-culture in the 60’s.
WARM UP.
TASK1. Search for videos in your three favourite engine search  (google, yahoo, youtube) about the celebrated writer Aldous Huxley. Copy the three best ones below.
Most of the references probably go to some of his works, some utopia set in a pessimistic future.
searcher: ....................... title ............................................................ sound quality: 0----5----10      length: .........
searcher: ....................... title ............................................................ sound quality: 0----5----10      length: .........
searcher: ....................... title ............................................................ sound quality: 0----5----10      length: .........
LANGUAGE PRACTICE (three passages)
TASK2. Listen to the interview recorded in a  ‘Gravity of life’,  a 90-second documentary taken from the Brazilian version of the documentary on Huxley. Answer the questions below using Huxleys wordshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7_YFKyhQMI 
NOTE: See if the Portuguese subtitles help you at following the interview. George Orwell  wrote 1984, in 1948, another dark utopia forecasting the beginnig of the cold war.
Q1. [message BNW] We can make people ........................................................... I think it has been done.
Q2. You can provide them with .................. and .........................
Q3. [letter] Dear Mr. Orwell, the  ............................. of 1984 is destined to be the  ........................... of Breve New World. The change will ...................................... as a result of ...................... to increase efficiency.  Thanks again for the book, Yours sincerely, Aldous Huxley.
Q4. It looks that the totalitatian ................... of the future will not be  ...........  .......... terror because they will have other ................ (x2) ............... as .........................ing  and propaganda.
Q5. [copy from board]              The most important lesson of ................................................................... ............................................................................. lesson.
Q6. What is the political message he wanted to pass on future generations? ..............................
........................................................................................................................
BACKGROUND to task 3. 1997 was considered ‘The year of the Clone’. Huxley’s biographer, David Dunnaway, reexamines his classic work Brave New World  65 years after it was published at this program in National Public Radio. (length 6:46)  www.npr.org/ramfiles/970812.me2.14.ram
TASK 3. Listen to this NPR special program on Huxley and answer the questions accordingly if they are True or False. Click on RealAudio 28.8 file  above to hear the audioclip. 
Q1. BNW was the most widely read science-fiction book of his generation   .....            T / F
Q2. He pictured a suffering world 100 years in the future                                     .....            T / F
Q3. Mother was considered an unacceptale word, almost an obscenity.            .....            T / F
Q4. Young readers of the 50’s liked it because they thouhgt sex was liberating.            T / F
Q5. Huxley’s warning was that technology will overcome humankind             .....            T / F
Q6. The title comes from King Lear’s line: “Oh Brave new world, that has such people in it” T / F

TASK 4. Listen again and answer the question below.
Q1. How was Huxley described by his biographer?  ................................................
Q2. There were two main causes of world suffering: ........................................................
Q3. Give two reasons why the book shocked the audience:  ...............................................................
Q4. In a later preface, Huxley accepted a 3rd positive alternative: ......................................................
Q5. How does the presenter introduce the chapter read at the end? .....................................................

DETAILED LISTENING. (third passage)
TASK5. Listen to the webpage and answer the questions. http://youtube.com/watch?v=mbI4f1WvN9w
Q1. When was Dr Humphry Osmond practising experiments on the consciousness with mescaline?
.............................................................................. ...........................................................................
Q2. What is the title of the first novel mentioned at the beginning of the video? ......................................
Q3. Jay Stevens presents Huxley with generous words. Fill in the blanks:
He was considered by European ................................ probably the ...................est yound literary man of his generation in any of the ..................... countries”.
Q4. What was the substance used in the experiments that provoked changes in consciousness?
 ..........................................................................................
Q5. What book did Huxley write based on his experience? In which year?
.............................................................................. ...........................................................................
TASK6. Fill in the blanks of these excerpts, very litteral, of the passage.
1# Dr H. Osborn was born in northern Canada. During the late 40’s and early 50’s his experiments with mescaline ................  ..................  attention. One of those following Osmond’s work was the celebrated author of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley. Although .................   .................  , Huxley compensated for the handicap with his extraordinary intelligence. His life seemed dedicated to a continuous quest for  ..................................  .
2# Huxley was fascinated by the possibility of expanding his consciousness with the use of drugs such as mescaline. He had studied cultures which were using drug plants to estimulate God-like visions. He ..................................  that there is a mechanism in the brain that can open a door to a higher relm of consciousness. Osmond volunteered him to be  a ..................  ..............   in his mescaline experiments
3# By using mescaline as a  x--------x substance Huxley entered the real world of spiritual imagery. Anything you .....................   ..........  is transformed, when you look at a plastic you see it, rather like Hoffman before him, ..........................  with life, ............................   with colour.” After his experience with mescaline Huxley began to encourage others to try as well.
4# [M. Lee says:] In essence what Huxley was saying was that drugs like LSD should be seen as a potential ....................   ..........   humankind. They should not be used only in the scientific context,but they can be used by normal people to study themselves, to investigate themselves as a .............  ...... ..................................   and self-discovery.
5# Huxley wrote a book on his experience in 1954. Its title was ‘The doors of perception’, after the observation of William Blake "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing .................. ................  ......  man as it is, infinite”. Aldous Huxley died on November 22nd 1963. He soured into the ...........................   ............  receiving his last request: an injection of LSD.

ROUNDING OFF.
TASK 7. Explore the new world we are living in. Answer the questions below.
Q1. Watch ‘Brand new world’, a 1-minute trailer with a futuristic world of brands. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5551192412528899148
The main impression you gow was ....................................................
Q2. Open their website http://www.brandnewworld.org.uk/index.htm and have a 2-minute glimpse at their ideas.

Q3. Decide who feared what. Write Huxley or Orwell in the blanks.

…………….. feared the truth would be concealed from us. ……………. feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
…………… feared we would become a captive culture. ……… feared we would become a trivial culture, […] in his novel, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.
In short, …………. feared that what we hate will ruin us.  ……………..  that what we love will ruin us."  
  [source  http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/aquarian.htm]

Q4. Decide who was more accurate to describe our XXI world:  both, Huxley Orwel None
FOLLOW UP.
#1. Aldous Huxley: The Ultimate Revolution, March 20, 1962
Berkeley Language Center - Speech Archive SA 0269
45 minute taped discourse followed by a 38-min Q&A session. Listen with Streamworks player. He explains his view on how the powers-that-be attempt to persuade the populace into consenting to the current state of affairs which may be unpleasant.
#2. The most complete video at hand is Video conversation with Aldous Huxley at you tube
http://www.throwawayyourtv.com/TayTVforum/showthread.php?p=1871
Intelligence & Good Will  + Discursive Logic & Non-verbal Awareness  + Scientific language & Poetry + Culture's Benefits & Traps  + Breaking out of our culture
Power politics / Arms race + Destruction of the environment + Corybantic dances / Dionysian orgies + The Third World's dilemma + Large-scale educational experimentation + Reptilian brain vs. Neocortex





6. Huxley and society            KEY
TASK2. Listen to the interview recorded in a  ‘Gravity of life’,   using Huxleys words
Q1.  [message BNW] We can make people contented with their servitiude. I think it has been done.
Q2. You can provide them with bread and circuses.
Q3. [letter] Dear Mr. Orwell, the  .nightmare. of 1984 is destined to be the  nightmare of Breve New World. The change will . brought about.. as a result of .the felt need.. to increase efficiency.  Thanks again for the book, Yours sincerely, Aldous Huxley.
Q4. It looks that the totalitarian .regime. of the future will not be  .based upon . terror because they will have other .means. (x2) .such . as .brain-wash.ing  and propaganda.
Q5. [ from board] The most important lesson of history is that nobody ever learns from history’s  lesson.

TASK 3. Listen to this NPR special program on Huxley
Q1. BNW was the most widely read science-fiction book of his generation   .....            True / F
Q2. He pictured a suffering world 100 years ahead                                     .....            T / False (500)
Q3. Mother was considered an unacceptable word, almost an obscenity.            .....            True / F
Q4. Young reader of the 50’s liked it because they thought sex was liberating.            True / F
Q5. Huxley’s warning was that technology will overcome humankind             .....            True / F
Q6. The title comes from a Shakespere’s play, King Lear:
                         “Oh Brave new world, that has such people in it”            .....            T / False (The Tempest)

TASK 3. Listen again and answer the question below.
Q1. How was Huxley described by his biographer?  Social critic and writer
Q2. There were two main causes of world suffering:  starvation & overpopulation
Q3. Give two reasons why the book shocked the audience:  negative utopia + sexes segregated for reproduction
Q4. In a later preface, Huxley accepted a 3rd positive alternative: technolgy used ++ FOR humankind
Q5. How does the presenter introduce the chapter read at the end?  terrorific

TASK4. Fill in the blanks of these excerpts, very litteral, of the passage.
1# Dr H. Osborn was born in northern Canada. During the late 40’s and early 50’s his experiments with mescaline gained wide attention. One of those following Osmond’s work was the celebrated author of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley. Although nearly blind, Huxley compensated for the handicap with his extraordinary intelligence. His life seemed dedicated to a continuous quest for knowledge.
2# Huxley was fascinated by the possibility of expanding his consciousness with the use of drugs such as mescaline. He had studied cultures which were using drug plants to estimulate God-like visions. He theorised that there is a mechanism in the brain that can open a door to a higher relm of consciousness. Osmond volunteered him to be a guinea pig in his mescaline experiments
3# By using mescaline as a  x--------x substance Huxley entered the real world of spiritual imagery. Anything you looked up is transformed, when you look at a plastic you see it, rather like Hoffman before him, bursting with life, bursting with colour.” After his experience with mescaline Huxley began to encourage others to try as well.
4# [M. Lee says:] In essence what Huxley was saying was that drugs like LSD should be seen as a potential boon for humankind. They should not only be used in the scientific context,but they can be used by normal people to study themselves, to investigate themselves as a tool of self-exploration and self-discovery.
5# Huxley wrote a book on his experience in 1954. Its title was ‘The doors of perception’, after the observation of William Blake "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to  man as it is, infinite”. Aldous Huxley died on November 22nd 1963. He soured into the afterlife after receiving his last request: an injection of LSD.
Annex. Text from task 2.
 ‘Gravidade da luz’,  a 90-second documentary taken from the Brazilian version of the documentary on Huxley. See if the text below an help you now with the Portuguese subtitles at following the interview.
The message of  BNW is that it’s possible to make people contented with their servitude,I think this can be done, I think, it has been done in the past and it could be done even more efectively now.
Because you can provide them with bread and circuses and you can provide them with any amount of distractions and propaganda.
 [October  21  1949] Dear Mr. Orwell, the nightmare of 1984 is destined to be the  nightmare of Breve New World. The change will brought about. as a result of the  felt need to increase its efficiency.  Thanks again for the book, Yours sincerely, Aldous Huxley.
But what it’s to me very interesting is it looks that the totalitat the totalitarian regime of the future will not be  based upon terror because they will have other means, means such as brain-washing  and propaganda. which will be more efficient, more economical than the usage of force and more pleasurable than those undergone with the techniques available at present, which seem to duplicate some of the ones I invented in BNW.
[ from board] The most important lesson of history is that nobody ever learns from history’s lesson.



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